Why you should study abroad
The Arch is fast approaching—especially for me, now that I am at the end of my sophomore year.
I never really tried to become exempt from the Arch because frankly, I didn’t want to be. Since the beginning of college, I wanted to study abroad for at least one semester, and the Arch allows me to do that without worrying about transferring credit towards my major to graduate within four years. Sure, I have my own opinions about why the Arch is not the greatest but among its flaws, it offers an incredible opportunity to greatly increase the value of your college experience. With the Arch not going to be made optional anytime soon, my recommendation is to make the best of a bad situation by using the semester away to study abroad like I am.
Obviously, this is just my opinion and is likely biased because I have been fortunate enough to visit other countries in the past with my family. I fell in love with the world from my experiences abroad. Even so, I believe studying abroad is more valuable than a co-op or an internship could be. It is unfortunate that studying abroad seems to be so unpopular. I don’t personally know anyone else doing a study abroad for their Arch away semester. I am sure there are others who I don’t know, but it is a small amount compared to how many students choose to do co-ops or internships.
I get it. Work experience is incredibly valuable for job searching after graduation. But to hell with that. Life is too short. Go out and live a little bit while you still can.
There is plenty of time either after college or some other time during the breaks between semesters to gain work experience. On top of that, you have the rest of your life to work at a company, and you may not have that same amount of time to go out and experience the world with such minimal drawbacks. The world is so vast outside of the United States, and there are so many amazing cultures and regions to explore that I am getting excited just thinking about. This may just be the romantic photographer in me speaking—wanting to capture the Earth in its pristine beauty—but this planet and life has so much to offer that many don’t take advantage of.
People get caught in the societal routine of work and end up worrying so much about the future that they forget to live in the present. If I am going to be completely honest, that is the primary reason I joined The Poly, not to pursue a journalistic passion of mine (as bad as that sounds) but to be able to gain a variety of diverse experiences from the incredible events that happen on our campus every week.
I’m not saying to completely abandon future plans or anything of the sort. Setting yourself up for easy living in the future is fantastic and potentially a smarter option, but I urge you to at least consider studying abroad. You’ve been a student pretty much your entire life, and as far as I am concerned, it is time to take a break and go see the world. It might not be there when you clock out for the day.